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Is French kissing bad? Everyone I talk to gives me a different answer.

If your goal is to remain abstinent, having passionate make-out sessions probably won’t help you achieve that. Here’s why:

I used to take for granted that everyone knew that French kissing is sexually arousing, especially for a guy. But I have met women who act surprised when they find out that a man is aroused by passionate kissing (or before then). What many young women do not realize is that once a guy is sexually aroused, generally he is not satisfied until he is relieved.

This does not mean that French kissing will inevitably lead to sex. But think about it: What is the purpose of sexual arousal? As far as your body knows, its purpose is to prepare for intercourse. Therefore, for the couple that is saving sex for marriage, French kissing is like a fifteen-year-old sitting in a car in his driveway, revving up the engine while keeping the car in park because he knows he does not have the license to drive.

I believe that the problem with French kissing is harder for girls to understand, because they tend to be aroused sexually in a more gradual way than guys. This does not mean that women lack sexual desires, but rather that their desires often operate in a different way. If a woman’s arousal could be compared to an iron heating up, a guy’s could be compared to a light bulb. Sensual reactions in guys tend to be more immediate, and when the flame of sexual arousal is ignited, a man often wants to go further.

He might be content for some time with just kissing. But when a couple have passionate make-out sessions and try to draw the line there, one of two things will eventually happen: either the original boundaries will disappear, or frustration will set in. In the one case, sexual arousal will become routine, and the couple will begin to justify new forms of physical intimacy. Perhaps they will stop the first, second, or third time, but gradually the old boundaries will be pushed back because they begin to experience the intoxicating bonding power that sexual intimacy creates.

Otherwise, one of them may end up hearing the same thing this girl did: “My boyfriend and I don’t go any further than making out, but recently he said to me after we were kissing, ‘Don’t you ever just get . . . bored?”’

I often receive e-mails from abstinent couples who say that they really love each other and want to stay pure, but they keep falling again and again into the same sexual mistakes. They have stirred up that desire, and they are finding that such desires are not easily tamed once they are awakened. These couples want to sit on the fence and keep some sexual intimacy while avoiding going “too far.” But they’re realizing that men and women are not made to work that way. Complete purity is easier to live out than 50 percent purity, because you’re not constantly teasing yourself.

Nevertheless, some say that French kissing is really no big deal and does not mean anything. But isn’t there something in you that wants it to be a big deal? The more of ourselves we give away, the less we value the gift of our body and our entire self (and people will respond by treating us with less respect as well).

Ask yourself what your kisses are worth. Are they a way to repay a guy for a nice evening? Are they a solution to boredom on a date? Are they a way to cover up hurts or loneliness? Even worse, are they merely for “harmless” fun? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we have forgotten the purpose of a kiss and the meaning of intimacy. So do not segregate parts of your sexuality as “no big deal.” Your entire body is an infinitely big deal, and this includes your kisses. If we realize this, the simplest of kisses becomes priceless and brings more closeness and joy than 100 one-night stands.

What happens to the unsuspecting teen is that the initial intimacy and excitement of a kiss is worn thin when he or she begins to give it away as if it’s a handshake. The profound meaning and depth of simple acts of affection are slowly lost. The world would like to tell us that we’re acquiring better dating skills, but we’re really just numbing ourselves.

So before you go there again, consider saving the passion for your bride or groom. Not only will your purity be a gift to your spouse, but it will make his or her affection seem more unique to you as well. In the long run this will bond the two of you much closer than all the “experience” the world recommends you have before marriage.

In high school, I didn’t think twice about this kind of kissing. I figured that other people were doing worse things, so it wasn’t that big a deal. Now I wish I had reserved such kisses for my bride, instead of dispensing them to girls I never saw again after graduation. But at the time I didn’t think about the future. I just looked at the classmates around me and figured that this was the way life was supposed to be. When my relationships matured and deepened, I gave up this kind of kissing because it would always ignite the desire to go further. It was also pushing other aspects of the relationship to the side. I knew in my heart that I could not say with confidence that this kind of intimacy was helping me to be abstinent or to love a girl more genuinely.

So I had a talk with a girlfriend at the outset of a relationship, and we agreed to sacrifice that. This was a huge blessing, and I was immediately able to see that the relationship was better. We were not perfect, but I saw for the first time that the more passionate kissing there was in my relationships, the less there was of everything else. This was not something I could understand until I gave it up.

I encourage you to give it a shot. Give up French kissing until you are married. Keep the affection simple. If you have a difficult time accepting this, then have the honesty to ask yourself why. If you could not French kiss your boyfriend or girlfriend, would that hinder your ability to love him or her?

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